Throwback Thursday May-15-2014

the statue:

Although she still stands tall and proud, we’re throwing it back on this Thursday to those who came before her. The statue of Mille the Millgirl, as she is affectionately referred to, is an icon of Manchester’s Mill past. She was dedicated on September 9, 1988 and sculpted by artist Antoinette Schultze.

Picture1Her plaque reads:

“She stands here, for thousands
of 19th century working women:

Industrial revolutionaries who broke
with the past to earn a living,
making history and creating the future

In 1880, one third of Manchester’s population, 3,385 women, worked in the textile mills of The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, situated below along the banks of the Merrimack River.”

some facts:

She is a powerful reminder of “the thousands of women who worked in [the] factories during the 19th century. The first mill girls came here from the farms and small towns of New England to earn their own way in life and enjoy new social and educational opportunities.”

People believed that machinery made textile mill work “easy” enough for women and children to provide most of the labor, under the supervision of male overseers. Nonetheless, some of the working and living conditions — such as twelve- to fourteen-hour workdays six days a week for both adult and child workers; low wages; deafening noise; dangerous machinery; unhealthful, fiber-laden air; and overcrowded housing— prompted growing criticism of workers’ exploitation as the century progressed.” “In the early to mid-nineteenth century, young women typically toiled for only a few years in the mills during their late teens and early twenties before marrying and leaving the factories to start a family. Other women, however, such as widows, spinsters, and poor immigrants, could work for many more years.”

images of mill girls from manchester’s past courtesy of manchester historic association:

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